A teaching from an American state governor
OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - October 11, 2020 - 12:00am

I had difficulty starting this article today. This column normally dwells on only one concern to share space with my other more profound fellow writers. But, there are two developments happening in the United States and the Philippines that are equally worth our attention. One cannot just be left for another day. So I feel writing on these two issues in this corner. Squeezing two issues in one compact exposition is, to me, quite challenging. But, I have to do it.

One. American federal and state security authorities reportedly busted a dangerous criminal plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. A flux of news reported that Whitmer is a fearless Democrat vigorously supporting presidential candidate Joe Biden against Donald Trump. Related reportage indicated animosity between Trump and Whitmer but that doesn’t concern us. While it seems that there is a surging racist conflict in the US that needs to be addressed by American Democrat and Republican leaders, what, in my mind, are more worth learning are the fundamental philosophies contained in the utterances said by their leaders. Whitmer said: “When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight”

The pronouncements of leaders determine policy. They may be jokers, foul-mouthed, and pranksters in their private lives but when chosen to serve public office, they have to cast away expletives, jokes, or pranks. Their utterances must be the paragon of nobility for they establish communal directions and set norms of conduct. That is why we are supposed to be influenced by them to achieve lofty common goals and directions.

 Two. Let’s then consider what Whitmer said in relation to the Philippine leader in Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano. In connection with the franchise application of ABS-CBN, Cayetano delivered a privilege speech. He followed it with the filing of his own version of the franchise bill and telling the public that in three days, the bill would be passed by the Lower House and forwarded to the Senate. No doubt, his words carried weight. But, as events unraveled, I found out what a falsehood of a weight his words were!

Then, the Taguig representative committed to a reported 15-21 sharing of the term of a speaker which, by the way, is technically anomalous. He gave his word, in person, to President Rodrigo Duterte, and Congressman Lord Alan Velasco. Duterte, Velasco, and the people listened to Cayetano. His words again carried weight. But, as it turned out, a weight in trickery!

If I talk about the speaker here, it’s because he is one of the highest-ranking officials of our country. Cayetano, as speaker of the House of Representatives, is a leader Whitmer refers to. His position in government is so important that it demands fealty to the Constitution and the people, assuming that absolute honesty is an unreachable ideal. As we are privileged to listen to him, we are supposed to rely upon him. It is thus important that his words are more truthful than selfish. That was the reason I called twice his acts as Moro-moro to mean that his words are not worthy of credibility.

To me, it is important to put the words of Whitmer in our daily undertakings.

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